Félicien Cesar David

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

David, Félicien Cesar


Born Apr. 13, 1810, in Cadenet, Vaucluse; died Aug. 29. 1876. in St. Germain-en-Laye. French composer. Member of the Institute of France from 1869.

David studied composition with F. J. Fétis and the organ with F. Benoist at the conservatory in Paris. In 1831 he joined the society of the St.-Simonians. From 1833 to 1835, as a missionary and propagandist of the ideas of Utopian socialism, he visited the Near and Middle East, where he studied and collected eastern folk melodies, which he later used in his compositions. David was the initiator of orientalism in 19th-century French music. Among his works are the operas The Pearl of Brazil (1851), Herculanum (1859), Lalla Roukh (1862), and The Sapphire (1865). He also wrote the symphonic odes The Desert (1844, based on a text by the poet A. Colin) and Christopher Columbus (1847). as well as the oratorio Moses in the Sinai (1846). four symphonies, and chamber-instrumental ensembles. David composed piano pieces such as “Eastern Melodies” (1835), choral pieces, and songs. He was also a conductor, and in the late 1860’s he gave concerts in Russia.


Serov, A. N. Kriticheskie stat’i, vol. 1. St. Petersburg, 1892.
Azevedo, A. F. David, coup d’oeil sur sa vie et son oeuvre. Paris, 1863.
Brancour. R. Félicien David. Paris. 1909.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.